Wyndham History

Ronald Murdock Douglas (1874-1978)

Item

Placeholder image - Veteran.png

Dublin Core

Type

Title

Ronald Murdock Douglas (1874-1978)

Contributor

Date

1914

Publisher

Wyndham City Libraries

Format

text

Language

eng

World War One Veterans Item Type Metadata

Name

Ronald Murdock Douglas

Birth Date

Birthplace

Service Number

252

Enlistment Date

Next of Kin

Florence Douglas
Wife

Address at time of Enlistment

Werribee

Occupation

Marital Status

Married

Death Date

Place of Burial

New South Wales

Biographical Text

No.252  Corporal Ronald Murdock Douglas
Ronald was born to Joseph Wallace Douglas and Mary Ann (nee Brown) in 1874.  He had three brothers:
  • Walter Joseph
  • William Bruce 
  • Gavin Stewart
and four sisters:
  • Violet Leonee
  • Phoebe
  • Ethel Scott
  • Wilhelmina Jane
Ronald served in the African Boer War and was also in the Tasmanian contingent Cattle Ranger for 3 years. Ronald married Florence Emma Betts in Victoria, 1905. They had two children Ronald Joseph Douglas in 1912 and Nancy Douglas in 1915.

War Service
Ronald enlisted into the Army at Melbourne, Victoria on 11 December 1914.  He was aged 38 years and six months and he was 5 feet 8 and a quarter inches tall.  Ronald weighed ten stone and ten pounds and had a chest measurement of thirty three to thirty seven inches. His complexion was dark, with brown eyes and grey hair.  Distinctive marks were 2 bullet wounds – 1 below right shoulder blade and 1 above left hip. All of this was recorded at the time of his enlistment.

Ronald was originally a Lance Corporal and was promoted to Corporal on 15 November 1915.  Details on his service records are not clear on where he was stationed overseas.  His war records are not very detailed.  Ronald was discharged from the 3rd N&M Force on completion of service on 31 October 1918.

In the electoral rolls 1909 and 1914 it says that Florence and Ronald are in Werribee: he is a labourer and she is at the Metropolitan Farm, home duties.

Post War
Florence died in Condobolin, New South Wales in 1927.  Ronald then married Helena Thorpe in Condobolin, New South Wales in 1929.  They had one daughter Ethel Douglas.  Helena died in 1974 in New South Wales.  In the Sydney Morning Herald, 18 July 1978, it states that Mr Ronald Douglas died at the age of 104, and that he was believed to be Australia's oldest ex-soldier.  He had been living at Elizabeth Jenkins Place, a Salvation Army nursing home at Collaroy for the last three years and had been in the care of the Salvation Army for 24 years. A copy of this article is in his Army record.

In the Wyndham Leader, 10 November 2013, there was an article about his great grandson, Ron Douglas. The article stated Ron came from a family with generations of servicemen who fought for their country, his grandfather having been a Gallipoli veteran, and his father and uncle fighting in World War 2.

Medals and Entitlements:
  • 1914/15 Star Medal
  • British War Medal
  • Victory Medal

Bibliography

AIF project
http://www.aif.adfa.edu.au:8080/index.html

Ancestry
http://search.ancestry.com.au

National Archives of Australia
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/

Leader Website
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/hoppers-crossing-veteran-ron-douglas-was-following-family-tradition-when-he-enlisted-in-the-royal-australian-airforce/story-fngnvmj7-1226755759232

Medals and Entitlements

1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal

Citation

“Ronald Murdock Douglas (1874-1978),” Wyndham History, accessed December 6, 2021, http://www.wyndhamhistory.net.au/items/show/2151.

Comments

Bill

The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a small volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific. Britain required the German wireless installations to be destroyed because they were used by Vice-Admiral Maximilian von Spee's German East Asian Cruiser Squadron, which threatened merchant shipping in the region. Following the capture of German possessions in the region, the AN&MEF provided occupation forces for the duration of the war. New Zealand provided a similar force for the occupation of German Samoa.

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